From the Harford County Health Department:
The month of April was observed nationally as Alcohol Awareness Month, a time to learn about alcohol and the effects drinking too much has on health and relationships. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) annually dedicates this month to having the public evaluate their own drinking habits and to understanding how excessive drinking adversely impacts individuals, families and communities. The Harford County Health Department, Division of Behavioral Health reminds the public that while the observance passes for another year, issues of alcohol abuse and addiction remain an everyday concern.
Many adults drink moderately and responsibly without complications, and there are indications from research that some can derive modest health benefits from consuming alcoholic beverages. However, alcohol-related problems that can result from drinking too much, too fast, or too often — are among the most significant public health issues in the United States and internationally.
An estimated 16.6 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder, a medical term describing a range of mild, moderate, and severe alcohol problems. In addition, research shows that binge-drinking is not uncommon among adults in the United States. Nearly one-quarter of people age 18 and older report that they consumed five or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least one day in the past month. Importantly, this consumption pattern is also prevalent among adolescents ages 12-17, with about 6 percent of them reporting drinking in this way. Getting rid of the addiction is one of the hardest things to do, as it gets excessive consumption can biologically wire your brains to imbibe more. Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab centers like Tangu Inc allow people to continue to work, attend school or take care of a loved one. This is a great option after inpatient care or if one cannot go into 24 X 7 care.
Excessive drinking affects all Americans, whether or not they drink since consequences extend to family and loved ones. Alcohol problems cost the United States an estimated $250 billion, primarily from lost productivity, but also from health care and property damage costs. Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous—both to themselves and to society, and is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors, even for those who may never develop a dependence or addiction. Adolescence is a time of heightened risk taking, and young people may not be fully prepared to anticipate all the consequences of drinking alcohol.
In the recently released Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national County Health Rankings Report where excessive drinking is defined as the percentage of adults reporting binge or heavy drinking, Harford’s rates remained unchanged from the previous two years but still were ranked worse than the State average.
Harford deaths related to alcohol ingestion have declined since 2010 however, alcohol-related admissions in FY14 to Harford County State Supported Substance-Related Disorder Treatment Programs was the number one reason for admission into treatment.
Both adults and adolescents can receive age appropriate services offered by the HCHD Behavioral Health Division. The Division is certified to provide multiple levels of care including early intervention, standard outpatient, and intensive outpatient services that include comprehensive assessments, psychiatric evaluation, medication management, urinalysis, group and individual counseling. The agency makes available a parent support group as well as extends opportunities for clients to connect with peers for additional support. Suboxone, naltrexone, and Vivitrol treatments also are accessible to adults while HCHD also contracts for adult population services and employs a part-time on-site psychiatrist from Sheppard Pratt Health Systems.
For those who find that their drinking patterns are above the recommended limits, cutting back or quitting can have significant health benefits. People who reduce their drinking decrease their risks for injuries, liver and heart disease, depression, stroke, sexually transmitted diseases, and several types of cancers.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol problems. NIAAA also disseminates research findings to general, professional, and academic audiences.
Additional alcohol research information and publications are available at www.niaaa.nih.gov. For more info about alcohol disorders or available treatment, visit the Harford County Health Department website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com